While most county residents may have thought the drama surrounding Trinitas was over, it has yet to reach a conclusion.
The latest chapter in the tale of this storied property is a lawsuit filed by Lance and Renee Dami, new owners of 160 acres, formerly part of the ranch owned by Mike and Michelle Nemee, builders of The Ridge at Trinitas Golf Course in Wallace.
Trinitas was built on agricultural land without proper permits and was twice ruled unlawful by the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors.
The bank foreclosed on the Nemees’ properties in 2009. However, the couple declared bankruptcy shortly after that and effectively delayed any foreclosure auction until last year.
The latest lawsuit, filed in superior court by the Damis, is seeking a temporary restraining order and declaratory relief against the Nemees.
Alleged offenses mentioned in the suit, filed Aug. 10, are breach of contract, trespassing, conversion, possession of personal property, theft, negligence, declaratory relief and violation of California codes and local ordinances.
What this all boils down to is the Damis accuse the Nemees of taking an irrigation pump system valued at more than $300,000 from the property before vacating the premises. The removal of the pumps prevented the new owners from accessing water for use on the property, according to the suit, therefore allegedly causing damage to the plaintiffs.
The Damis reported the alleged grand theft to the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office June 7 of last year.
In court, the Nemees’ lawyer, San Andreas attorney Ken Foley, claimed the Dami’s complaint was moot, because of his clients’ bankruptcy.
“Plaintiff’s complaint seeks damages for claims which were discharged in bankruptcy on August 28, 2010,” a document prepared by Foley’s office stated.
Judge John E. Martin will hear a demurrer, prepared by Foley at 10 a.m. today in Department 1 of the Calaveras County Superior Court.
The Nemees are also still involved in two other cases.
One is a $12 million civil rights case filed by the Nemees against Calaveras County. The suit alleges the county violated their constitutional rights by prohibiting them from operating Trinitas.
Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill ruled on Jan. 8 that a bankruptcy reference should be withdrawn and the case transferred to district court along with staying a pending resolution of the appeal in the agritouism adversary proceeding.
In the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Nemees filed the opening brief in their appeal of Judge Ronald Sargis’ judgment in their agritourism suit. In October 2011, Sargis ruled agritourism did not include a commercial golf course and Trinitas golf course was not a permitted use under Calaveras County’s agricultural zoning codes. Calaveras County’s response is due Jan. 30.
Contact Joel Metzger at firstname.lastname@example.org